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how do i help him? - December 18th 2013, 06:53 AM

This thread has been labeled as triggering, particularly on the subject of suicide, by the original poster or by a Moderator. The contents of this thread therefore might not be suitable for certain sensitive users. Please take this into consideration before continuing to read.

i'm really not sure if this should go in self harm, rape and abuse or what, but its about my friend so this seemed like a good bet.

my best friend told me his story tonight. its long and painful and i'm the only person who knows all of it because no one else would sit through the whole thing. the basic gist is that he was in foster care, was abused by several people and ended up really screwed up. he used to put himself in danger a lot (he almost got himself run over by a train) he used to do drugs, he still drinks sometimes, and he used to cut. he got ptsd from foster care and hes suicidal. i've had a suspicion that he had some pretty bad stuff in his past, but this is more than i expected. i don't know how to help him and i'm really worried. the last time he tried to kill himself was last summer, but his family is messed up and hes got the threat of his parents disowning him if he comes out as trans, and he can't see a reason to keep going. i don't know how long i'll be able to keep him here and i just need to find a way to show him that there are people who need him. i need him, but that isn't enough.


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Re: how do i help him? - December 18th 2013, 06:28 PM

You can help him by continuing to be loving and supportive when he shares information or talks about his feelings. You certainly can't change the past, and you can't be his "knight in shining armor," but the powerful impact of simply listening and lending him a shoulder to cry on shouldn't be underestimated! =)

It's important to recognize when you've reached your limits to help someone. At this point, it sounds like professional help is needed, so I would encourage him to seek that out. Is he still in the foster care system? If so, then there should be a social worker assigned to manage his case. That would be someone he can contact for referrals to free therapy/counseling support. Additionally, if he's still in school, he can approach a school counselor or psychologist and request help. There are also helplines and other resources, such as TeenHelp, which he can access while he's waiting for therapy/counseling to begin!

Many people commit suicide despite knowing there are people who love and/or "need" them. That in and of itself isn't always enough of a reason to continue living. Your friend will need to find other reasons to persevere... primarily, hope that his situation will improve with time. You can say that until your face turns blue, but ultimately, he'll need to discover that for himself. You can assist him by telling him about the resources available to him and encouraging him to seek help. You can acknowledge the pain he has endured up until this point, and lovingly challenge any false beliefs he might have (such as "I'll never feel better" or "I'll never be successful"... since he can't know that with absolute certainty, you can point that out to him and encourage him to explore his other options, such as therapy/counseling).

On a final note... it's important to not only recognize your limits, but to take care of yourself as well. You said you "need" him, and that's not a healthy way to approach this situation. If you two become enmeshed, and he hurts himself or commits suicide, then where will that leave you? Focus on developing coping skills for yourself, and ensure you have other sources of support so you won't be completely destroyed if something happens to your friend. By focusing on yourself, you can become better equipped to help your friend AND serve as a model for self-improvement.






   
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